Convicted Ex-Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) was sentenced on Tuesday to 11 months in prison with three years of supervised probation after he pleaded guilty to a single corruption charge, NBC San Diego reports.
A secret recording caught a billionaire bribing North Carolina officials with millions of dollars in political money — funneled through a dark money group — in return for the removal of a regulator who was responsible for overseeing his companies, the Charlotte Observer reports.
You can now get former Gov. Rod Balgojevich to give you a shout out in a video for $100.
“Former Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh, who held elected offices in Baltimore for two decades and was elevated by voters to lead the city following the upheaval of 2015, was sentenced to three years in federal prison Thursday for a fraud scheme involving a children’s book series,” the Baltimore Sun reports.
Chicago Tribune: “In his winding ‘homecoming’ speech and various media interviews since having his sentence commuted Tuesday by President Donald Trump, Blagojevich has woven a web of half-truths and, to critics, hypocrisies around his newly found freedom. He has promoted unfounded conspiracy theories, attacked his former prosecutors and downplayed his own criminal behavior.”
“And as he has been since the moment of his arrest, Blagojevich remains unrepentant. If anything, a lengthy incarceration has only strengthened his belief that he is the victim of political corruption and not the perpetrator.”
“He also seems emboldened by Trump’s bombastic style, which drastically changed the political and cultural landscape while Blagojevich was behind bars. That new reality allows for hurling allegations regardless of their veracity, excoriating perceived opponents in the media and often shouting down the truth.”
Lawfare: “Corruption of the justice system has two major elements. The first—at issue in the Ukraine scandal—is the use of state power to go after one’s enemies. The other is the ability to restrain government power to reward one’s friends and allies.”
“A dramatic display of this latter power took place today, Feb. 11, when the U.S. Department of Justice, having articulated in court its view of an appropriate sentence for President Trump’s associate Roger Stone—convicted recently on multiple felony counts—confronted an angry presidential tweet and then meekly reversed course in a second filing.”
Kim Wehle: “Of course, this president’s abuse of the massive powers of his office will continue because he knows that there is no one within the federal government who is able or willing to stop him.”
For members: How we’ll lose our democracy.
“The son of the disgraced former Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY) avoided his father’s fate, receiving a sentence of five years’ probation, including six months of home confinement, instead of federal prison for his role in an insider trading scheme,” the Buffalo News reports.
Politico: “Trump’s early decision to maintain his grip on his sprawling real estate empire — despite his pledge to put his business aside while in the White House — has created a vast web of potential conflicts of interest, accusations about his policies being driven by his business interests and even possible violations of the law.”
“Even as Trump kicks off his fourth year as president this week facing the stain of an impeachment trial, he has managed to skirt accountability for widespread possible conflicts of interest that critics say represent a blatant abuse of power and create dangerous risks to the integrity of the presidency.”
A federal judge sentenced former Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY) to 26 months in prison Friday on charges of conspiracy to commit securities fraud and lying to the FBI, the Washington Post reports.
“Collins sobbed in the courtroom while making an emotional statement to Broderick about the impact of his criminal conviction on himself and his family.”
Said Collins: “I have no excuse. I tarnished my reputation.”
Federal prosecutors recommended that former Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY), who pleaded guilty to federal charges in an insider trading case, be sentenced to nearly five years in prison, CNN reports.
“The U.S. Probation Office is recommending that former Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY) spend a year and a day in custody, followed by supervised release and a $200,000 fine, for the insider trading violations that he pleaded guilty to last October,” the Buffalo News reports.
“The proposed sentence is far more lenient than the maximum called for in Collins’ plea agreement – which was four years and nine months.”
Former Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) told the San Diego Union Tribune that President Trump should consider clemency for convicted Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA), who is scheduled to be sentenced to prison on March 17.
Said Issa: “It’s not my decision. It’s the president’s decision. But I would certainly say the commuting of sentencing… has a certain ability to balance the public good. Are we better off spending $60,000 a year to put him behind bars or are we better off with him doing community service and going on with his life with the likelihood of him committing a crime in the future being pretty low?”
Issa is currently running for Hunter’s seat.
Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) is showing no signs of stepping down from office despite his guilty plea Tuesday on a felony campaign finance charge in federal court, Politico reports.
“After years of denials and claims he was the target of a political witch hunt, Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) is scheduled to appear in federal court Tuesday morning to change his plea of not guilty to charges stemming from a sweeping campaign finance investigation,” the San Diego Union Tribune reports.
“The reversal comes nearly six months after Hunter’s wife and former campaign treasurer, Margaret Hunter, admitted to her role in a widespread scheme that saw the couple allegedly spend more than $200,000 in campaign donations on family expenses like vacations, gas, groceries, school lunches and oral surgery.”
“The congressman was seeking re-election but typically a guilty plea would include an agreement to step down.”
“Wait what? The president’s former national security advisor suggested that the commander-in-chief made life or death national security decisions because of an active conflict of interest related to his business?”
“Even by the standards of Trumpian corruption, this is holy-motherforking-shirtballs level stuff.”
“Bolton’s accusation, if accurate, would amount to the biggest scandal in the American presidency in half a century: The most senior security staffer, a man with unparalleled access to the president, believes that Trump acted in a way that is indistinguishable from double-dealing despots the world over.”
“Federal prosecutors have charged former Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh (D) with 11 counts of fraud, tax evasion and conspiracy in what they allege was a corrupt scheme involving her sales of a self-published children’s book series,” the Baltimore Sun reports.
“President Trump earlier this week asked for a show of hands from hundreds of wealthy donors in Chicago if they supported letting former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D) out of prison,” the Wall Street Journal reports.
“The informal poll over clemency for the disgraced former politician found that most people in the room were sympathetic… A trio of Republican congressmen at the back of the room was firmly opposed.”
Joe Biden was interviewed by Norah O’Donnell on 60 Minutes:
O’DONNELL: President Trump has said publicly, ‘Joe Biden and his son are stone cold corrupt.’ And chances are, he’s watching this interview. Anything … you want to say to him?
BIDEN: Yeah. Mr. President, release your tax returns. Let’s see how straight you are, okay old buddy? I put out 21 years of mine. So show us your tax returns, bud, what are you hidin’? You want to deal with corruption? Start to act like it. Release your tax returns or shut up.